This Content Is Only For Subscribers
In a surprising twist to the aviation narrative, Air New Zealand has managed to increase the number of passengers it can transport from Rotorua to Auckland, despite a reduction in the number of daily flights.
This move has been made possible by the airline’s decision to operate larger aircraft, proof to its commitment to continue connecting travellers across the country and beyond.
“Connecting New Zealanders with each other and New Zealand with the world is our core purpose,” says Air New Zealand’s domestic general manager Iain Walker.
“We are constantly monitoring demand for all services across our network to ensure we are delivering on this.”
Highlighting the evolution of the airline’s service, he says while the frequency of flights from Rotorua to Auckland has seen adjustments over the years, the capacity has significantly increased.
“In 2008, we operated between three and five return services a day on much smaller aircraft with just 19 seats. Today, our Q300 aircraft, which has 50 seats, allows us to offer 100-150 seats each day across two to three flights,” says Iain.
The shift in approach comes as Air New Zealand continues to navigate the challenges and opportunities presented by the global pandemic.
The impact of COVID-19 on international tourism has also been impacted, but with data from the Rotorua Economy: Data and Research, it shows overall, Rotorua international visitor expenditure has recovered to 59 per cent, with the rest of the country just ahead at 75 per cent, marking an optimistic and strong recovery.
“Over the past year, we have operated more than 5000 flights in and out of Rotorua, carrying over 200,000 passengers,” says Iain.
“Tourism is continuing to rebuild, and as it does, we will be able to continue to grow our services.”
Rotorua Airport’s chief executive Nicole Brewer also emphasised the impact of the global COVID response on flight schedules and the importance of international tourism to the city.
“In the past 18 months, and particularly over the current summer period, we have seen international visitor numbers increase significantly.”
She also highlighted the collaborative efforts between the airport and Air New Zealand to adapt to the evolving needs of the Rotorua community and the importance of community feedback in shaping future flight schedules.
As Rotorua’s services to Wellington and Christchurch return close to pre-pandemic levels, the strategic deployment of larger aircraft on the Auckland route highlights Air New Zealand’s commitment to maintaining and enhancing connectivity for its passengers.